Go Taney Little Leaguers!

Every few years, a minor sport enters the Philadelphia’s public consciousness and becomes An Event. It happened about 10 years ago, when Smarty Jones almost won the triple crown. Then it happened again with two other good horses, Afleet Alex and Barbaro (R.I.P.). And, now: Little league! Yes, the whole city is excited about children playing baseball.

It’s tempting to get cynical about this — after all, baseball can be pretty boring even when adults are playing it, plus it’s the Little League World Series Presented by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. But resist! The Taney Dragons are awesome. Pitcher Mo’Ne Davis has “gained international prominence,” says the Inquirer, and the team also has a slugger (Zion Spearman) who hit a ball several hundred feet in the regional semifinal. This team’s great!

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Black Girls Are Magic: Why We’re Fascinated With Mo’Ne Davis

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The saying, as it goes in some circles, is that “Black girls are magic.” And there is an ever more prevalent movement to celebrate The Carefree Black Girl, a new archetype and representation of the fullness of black women and girls and their interests and their happiness. Enter Mo’Nae Davis, 13, the breakout star of her Taney Youth Baseball Association of Philadelphia little league team, the Anderson Monarchs.

With long braids that dance on her back, what makes Davis a star is her talent as a pitcher — she has a 70 mph fastball — and, as described by her coach in interviews, her role as a leader on her all-boys team. What makes Davis a source of media intrigue, though, is her gender, and perhaps even her race.

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WATCH: LeSean McCoy Has a Dumb New Ad for Dryer Sheets

Are you a big LeSean McCoy fan? The Eagles’ running back is coming off a great season and says he’s going to reach 2,000 yards this season, so it’s understandable if you are. (He also once told his Twitter followers to harass the mother of his child, so it’s understandable if you aren’t.)

If you are a big McCoy fan, do you trust his opinions on dryer sheets? That’s what Bounce is apparently hoping, as it shows in this ridiculous new commercial where McCoy admits to using a performance-enhancing (or “potential enhancing,” I guess) substance.

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Is Cole Hamels Leaving Town?

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Hamels, of course, should never have to buy a drink in this town again. He was MVP of the 2008 World Series, remember, on a team that was packed with explosive talent. Many of those explosive players are still there — but they’re all a lot older now. The standings show that. So Cole Hamels may have to leave.

Sad, that.

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Philadelphia Union Reach U.S. Open Cup Final

The above tweet is not a typo. The Philadelphia Union are in the championship! “Already?” you might be asking. “It’s only August! Doesn’t the soccer season run into the fall?” Yes, it does. And the Union still sit in fifth place MLS’ Eastern Conference. But the team is also in the championship!

For the uninitiated, let’s explain: After the the game ended 1-1 in regulation and extra time, the Union defeated FC Dallas, 4-3, in a penalty shootout in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup. C’mon! Even if you’re not that interested in soccer, as a Philadelphian you should always get excited for wins over teams from Dallas.

So, yeah, the U.S. Open Cup. Soccer is weird: Domestic soccer leagues run concurrently with a completely separate cup competition, which in the U.S. is a straight knockout competition. Yes, if you’re a soccer fan you get to look at brackets all year! It’s fun. Winning the U.S. Open Cup wouldn’t be as prestigious as qualifying for the playoffs and winning the MLS Cup, but it counts as an all-important “domestic trophy” nonetheless. (Yes, another cool thing about soccer is there are several chances to win championships in a season.)

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Sixers Mocked in Taiwanese Animation

Next Media Animation, a jokey Taiwanese animated news service that first came to prominence for its Tiger Woods reenactment in 2009, has weighed in on the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins deal. The trade, which will send the star Kevin Love to Cleveland to play with LeBron James, is expected to be completed later this month. Last year’s first overall pick, Anthony Bennett, and a future first-round pick will also be headed to Minnesota.

A second deal, reported by the Daily News, has the Sixers trading Thaddeus Young to the Timberwolves for Bennett. Bennett, who looked out of shape last season, had one of the worst rookie seasons of any No. 1 pick ever.

As such, he and the Sixers were mocked in this Taiwanese animation video.

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The Phils Without Ryan Howard Would Be Like Gluten-Free Cat Food

The Joy of a Phillies Game, Even When They Stink: What's nice about baseball is it's a picnic. The Phillies may have given up three home runs to Ryan Braun in a 10-4 loss in their home opener, but I still had a good time at the game yesterday. I tailgated with friends in the parking lot beforehand. I met my uncle, a man who's taken me to scores of Phillies games in my life, and we sat in his season ticket seats. I listened to him wax nostalgic on Phillies teams in games past — "Since the Vet opened, I've only missed about three home openers," he bragged — and we drank beers and sighed as the Brewers scored another run. I ran into friends I hadn't seen in forever. I updated an old boss on my life. I actually walked back to downtown up 10th Street because it was nice out, and a friend suggested we walk. Why has no one asked me to do this before? I wondered aloud. (Dan McQuade)

My husband Doug and I were toggling between preseason football and yet another extra-innings Phillies game the other night when we lighted upon a cat food commercial. We don’t have a cat (though we did recently acquire a grand-kitten), so there was no reason to pause. Yet we did. Because the narrator of the commercial was proudly declaring that the cat food in question was gluten-free.

“Is this a commercial for gluten-free cat food?” Doug asked incredulously, just as I said, “Was that a gluten-free cat food commercial?” Because no matter how you feel about the current human gluten-free craze, it seems off the wall to extend it to our feline friends. The ones I’ve had in my lifetime haven’t been big bread eaters, generally. Nor were they particularly fond of pasta. But I never noticed any ill effects from the occasional noodle or cookie crumb. And I’ve had a lot of cats. Read more »

My Daughter Wants to Throw Like Mo’Ne Davis

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This article was published before the Taney Dragons advanced to the Little League World Series on Sunday.

“I don’t throw like a girl,” my 7-year-old daughter uttered in late June, her tone full of sass. The haymaker of insults, whether on the grass and dirt of a baseball diamond or the hard asphalt of a schoolyard, has always been to tell someone they “throw like a girl.”

“I want to throw like Mo’Ne” is what my daughter and a dozen or so other little girls were overheard saying a month later while waiting in the victory line for a chance to high-five ace pitcher Mo’Ne Davis of the Taney Dragons after they defeated Collier Township of Allegheny County in the championship game of the Pennsylvania State Tournament of Little League Baseball.

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Phillies Trade Away Pitcher (No, Not One You’re Attached To)

The Phillies traded pitcher Roberto Hernandez to the Los Angeles Dodgers this afternoon for two players to be named later. Yes, there’s a very good chance you don’t really know who this guy is.

The Phillies signed Hernandez to a 1-year, $4.5 million contract last December. He went 6-8 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts for the Phillies this year. His last outing was an 8-inning, 5-hit, 0-earned run performance against the Washington Nationals last Friday. The Phillies won that game, 2-1.

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The Phillies Are Losers (and Always Will Be) — the Case for Bringing Back the A’s

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Q: When there were two teams in this town, how did people decide whether to be Phillies fans or A’s fans?

A: You didn’t decide. You were an A’s fan.

That was b-roll from an interview I did with author Bruce Kuklick a couple of years ago, but it reiterates what I have heard time and time again over the years: that this was always a Philadelphia A’s town, until Connie Mack’s sons Roy and Earle took on more debt than they could repay and sold out to New York interests, who promptly moved the team to Kansas City and set them up as a de facto farm team for the Yankees. Bruce continued:

My uncle grew up a Phillies fan, and he was regarded as a loser. My mother called him the last male virgin in captivity. She told us growing up that our Uncle Buck “needed someone to follow him around with toilet paper.”

After all, one would need to have some sort of mental or emotional issues to cheer for a Phillies team that finished under .500 in 30 of the 31 years from 1918-1948 (the one year above .500 they finished at 78-76). Especially when there was a team in a nicer ballpark (Shibe Park was a modern marvel when it was erected in 1909, the Baker Bowl was always a dump) six blocks away that was well-run, well-respected, and that won five World Series while in Philly.

It simply made no sense to be a Phillies fan, because they were a franchise that never had a plan, never had a clue, an embarrassment that dove into the cellar each year as soon as the season started and stayed there.

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